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A holographic will may be legal in Michigan

If you execute an estate plan, you’ll no doubt choose an executor who will manage the administration of your estate when the time comes. An executor’s duties include gathering a decedent’s assets, notifying beneficiaries and carrying out all instruction contained in a last will and testament. Is it possible, however, to have a will without an estate plan? It might be if you have a holographic will.  

A holographic will is a will that a person has written out in his or her own hand, rather than a typed document. One of the most significant differences between a typed will and a holographic will is that the latter does not need a witness or notarization. This means that, if you write out instructions for something, such as distribution of your assets when you die, and then you mark the paper with a phrase such as “This is my last will and testament,” it constitutes validity. 

Someone might challenge your holographic will 

It’s not uncommon for contests to arise during the probate process, even when there is a formal estate plan in place. Some people frown upon the idea of a handwritten will. They say it leaves room for dispute because someone might claim that it was merely a draft and that the estate owner passed away before finalizing his or her plan.  

If someone challenges your will, a probate judge will decide whether it is a legitimate document or not. Any type of contest can delay the probate process, which can be frustrating for those involved, especially beneficiaries. In such cases, it’s helpful to seek legal guidance, which is often the key to finding a fair solution in a swift manner.  

You must add a signature to your holographic will 

If someone presents a handwritten will to a probate judge without a signature, it’s unlikely that the court will consider it valid. The signature is another issue that can spark a dispute, however. If someone comes forward claiming that another person forged your signature, the court must decide whether to accept it as your handwriting or not.  

In some states, only members of the military may use holographic wills. It’s always best to seek clarification of Michigan laws before executing any type of estate planning document, either in your own handwriting or typed. The more thorough and detailed your will is, the less chance there might be for someone to challenge its validity.